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Ecuadoran Shrimp Cocktail (Cóctel de Camarones) Recipe

Ecuadoran Shrimp Cocktail (Cóctel de Camarones)
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins | Active Time: | Makes: 10 to 15 servings as an hors d'oeuvre (about 5 cups)

On the Ecuadoran coast, ceviche carts line the beaches selling ice-cold seafood cooked in lime juice and sprinkled with popcorn. In Quito, where fresh seafood is more rare, a lightly poached shrimp cocktail is the ceviche of choice.

What to buy: We found deveined frozen shrimp at our local market, and they worked great in this recipe. If you use fresh shrimp, they will take slightly less time to cook, so start checking them after a few minutes.

Look for avocados that are ripe but not mushy. If they are too soft, they will fall apart when you fold them into the shrimp mixture.

Game plan: A great way to serve the shrimp cocktail is in small cups or bowls with a cocktail fork stuck in for easy eating. This dish can be prepared up to 1 day in advance (without the avocado), covered, and kept in the refrigerator. When your guests arrive, simply peel and dice the avocado, sprinkle it over top, and serve.

This recipe was featured as part of our Spicy Holiday Cocktail Party menu.

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 1/2 pounds small shell-on shrimp
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed, finely grated horseradish (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lightly packed, finely grated orange zest
  • 3 medium avocados
  • 1 cup red onion, small dice
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Fill a large stockpot with water, salt it heavily (it should taste like sea water), and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Add shrimp and poach until they are pink and firm, about 7 minutes. Drain and cool the shrimp, then peel and devein them; set aside.
  2. Combine ketchup, orange juice, horseradish, lemon juice, hot sauce, and orange zest in a large, nonreactive bowl and stir until combined.
  3. Halve avocados lengthwise and remove the pits. Peel each half, place it cut side down on a cutting board, and cut into medium dice. Fold diced avocado, onion, and poached shrimp into the sauce. Adjust the seasoning as desired, cover, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Beverage pairing: Dominio del Plata “Crios de Susana Balbo,” Torrontes, Argentina. A South American white for this Ecuadoran dish—citrus, mint, and white flowers delivered in a light but punchy package.